Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Feed: July 16, 2014

My By The Fire sundae has a lot of smoky flavors, but imagine if the ice cream itself were smoked--wouldn't that be something?!
The Feed is my weekly round up of interesting food-related stories from newspapers, magazines, blogs and websites.

The Daily Meal: “How ‘Reality’ TV Cooking Shows Get It Wrong,” by Jacques Pepin.
I love food. And I love television. So it might surprise you to learn that I don’t really love food television. While I’ve been known to watch Top Chef and the occasional demonstration cooking show, I find most food-driven reality TV to be rather ridiculous. Leave it to legendary chef Jacques Pepin to write a thoughtful take-down of the industry. When he says the kitchens depicted on such shows are fiction, you know he knows what he’s talking about.

Washington Post: “What It’s Like When Michelle Obama Shows Up To The Restaurant Where You’re Dining,” by Tom Sietsema.
A fun treat for D.C. restaurant-goers since the Obamas’ arrival in 2008 is that the President and First Lady often like to dine out. Chris and I just missed them at Oyamel recently—they arrived minutes after we’d left. So what would it be like to dine with Mrs. Obama at a nearby table? The Post’s restaurant critic had just such an experience recently.

Washington Post: “Plate Lab: Parmigiano ‘Gelato’ Is Magic Simple Enough to Make at Home,” By Joe Yonan.
Savory cheese gelato? Why not. For a recent Plate Lab column, Yonan examined the recipe behind Osteria Morini’s unusual crostino. Best of all, the relatively simple recipe has only five ingredients.

Serious Eats: “The Best Sweet Use for Your Smoker? Smoked Ice Cream,” by Max Falkowitz.
Smoked flavors have been increasingly popular in recent years. So I shouldn’t be surprised that they now show up in ice cream. I’d really like to try some. I’ve made a smoky sundae before with a brown-butter blondie, maple-bacon ice cream and smoky whipped cream that was quite decadent.

Los Angeles Times: “Controversial website puts a price on table reservations,” by Dashiell Young-Saver.
Much news was made this last week about web-based services that scarf up hard-to-get reservations and then sell them. Effectively turning something free but coveted into a monetized commodity. Young-Saver writes that one such company, Reservation Hop, has apparently shut down over the backlash against it. I’m glad. I think it’s a terrible direction for dining-out to go. I’ve said that I’m not a fan of restaurants that don’t take reservations, and I disagree that reservations are somehow elitist since—barring services like these—they provide anyone the chance to snag a table. But bringing in third parties to start chargin diners for something that should be free could quickly become a race to the bottom. It would mean the end of reservations, and I don’t want to see that.

New York Times: “Microwaved and Messy, Not Stirred,” by Robert Simonson.
There is so much seriousness when it comes to cocktail-making these days, that it’s refreshing to read Simonson’s story about Joe & Misses Doe, the East Village bar churning out inventive, whimsical drinks, like Three Sheets to the Watermelon.

Business Insider, “11 Psychological Tricks Restaurants Use To Make You Spend More Money,” by Maggie Zhang.
I’ve read before that there is a certain science to restaurant menu design. Zhang looks specifically at ways restaurants can optimize their menus so diners spend more.

Eater: “Sriracha Factory Saga Blamed on Faulty Science,” by Khushbu Shah.
Remember Srirachagate? Huy Fong Foods, the California-based producer of the popular Asian-style hot sauce, had to temporarily shut down after complaints from neighbors that odors from the factory where making them sick. The city dropped its case about the food company, but Shah unearths what will probably be the last chapter in the story: the rather flawed research the city did to make its case.

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